Archive for galveston

DNF =Double Nutela Fudge and the journey to 70.3

Posted in Uncategorized with tags , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , on April 11, 2016 by runmyssierun

Successful people are not those who do not fail. They are those who fail more than anyone and simply refuse to accept it as the conclusion.

failure is not my conclusion

Ok… so I’m not going to sugar coat it. I was WAAAAYYYYY out of my league at my first attempt at a 70.3. I can go on and on with excuses up the wazoo… but I won’t.

But don’t kid yourself… I’m not going to discredit all I have done, either. Remember, I am still relatively new to this and am not a person with a stellar athletic history. Before I go into my sobby pity party story, I’m going to pat myself on the back and gently remind myself of how far I have come under the careful guidance of some exemplary coaches in just four years. Remember, I was not on the track team nor on the volley ball team nor the softball team in high school. I was a Sergeanette drill team member and vice-President of the Homemaking club. Seriously. In college, I dated a soccer player and that was just about as close as I got to being athletic. I was a pathetic, prissy, beauty queen princess that never once experienced a drop of stinky sweat. Ronda Rousey has a term for girls like me. She calls them “DNBs” or “a Do-Nothing_B*tch“. Yep. I’ll admit it. That was me at one time and I think in my youth, I was encouraged to go that direction by many of the people around me. I know better now.

So I’m pretty dang proud of how far I’ve come. I’m not going to rub it in your face and make you think I’m better than you. Because I’m not. I’m no better than anyone else.

The difference now is that I learned the hard way that life is too short and it’s not guaranteed that tomorrow will be here. So I make sure that I live every day to it’s fullest. I have goals. I know in my heart of hearts what the word “success” means to me and I know how to get there. Success means something different for everyone. And here’s a heads up… the definition of success to any one of us can change on a daily basis and none of us need anyone else’s permission to think of it as success or not. If that doesn’t make sense to you now, don’t worry… you’ll get it later when it’s your time to know better.

Ok… so let’s get to the nitty gritty of the Ironman Texas 70.3 at Galveston this weekend.

This event is a year in the making for me. I was supposed to do IM Victoria last year in Canada. After a couple of frightening events, a fear of not being able to fundraise the amount I needed to and a heart crushing text from a fellow teammate that season, I decided to step away from Team in Training that season and post-pone my event for the following one. Two other team mates had chosen to do their Ironman in Austin later that year and after calculating the flight costs, hotel stays and bike transport, it made financial sense to postpone my IM to Austin with them after all that drama.

God had other plans.

Training wasn’t going as well as I had hoped and my body wasn’t cooperating as it had before. A popped IT band, scar tissue around the hip muscles, piriformis syndrome, a bulging disk at L4-L5 and herniated disk at L5-S1 put a bit of a damper on my expectations. The Longhorn IM in Austin sold out just at the same time the doc told me I needed to have more therapy done. So here we are… one year later… at IM Galveston.

Let the games begin.

Galveston’s event was positioned perfectly between the anniversary death dates of my Mother (April 8) and my baby brother Donny (April 11) right smack on April 10, 2016. The emotional state of being on those two dates and each day in between is not one that I recommend to anyone. Factor in the stress of competing for a half Ironman on that in between date and any one of us would be knocked into a whole new world of crazy. Add to this, I lost my temper and in my weakness allowed myself to enter into a fight about something ridiculously stupid and meaningless…. and it continued for days. Long story longer… my head was not in the game. I lost focus on my goal. On my marathons and triathlons that I’ve done well in, I noticed that I was taken away from my normal environment for a few days, surrounded by people who fortified my mindset with positive reinforcement, removed from my every day stress, problems and negative people and allowed my brain to be convinced that I could do anything I set my mind to. And I did.

Mistake #1 – I wasn’t focused on the finish.

A year of injury, a holiday season of overeating and twenty pounds of extra tires around my belly and thighs made my paces competitive with molasses and turned squeezing into my wet suit equal to a heart rate zone 4 cardio experience. In a desperate attempt to fit into my wet suit, I drastically reduced my calorie intake the two months prior to my HIM (half ironman). Now, every great athlete understands the importance of calorie intake during hard trainings. Clearly I am still not a great athlete and in my stubborn and vain stupidity, thought it was a priority to be able to fit into a wet suit over mastering the endurance of a tough workout. On the days that I did eat properly, I had exceptional workouts. *I love the to-go bowls and pre-prepped meals at Fit Fillet!!! I hit goal paces at long swim workouts, conquered the mountain on Zwift Island on my bike and comfortably ran my fartleks on the days I ate right. On those days where I felt a bit bloated or didn’t get enough rest, I skipped my meals and thought I could live off of a shake for the day. Yeah, sure… I was seeing my waist go down again but I burned out quickly on those days, too.

Game day – Sunday, April 10 – wetsuit zipped up easily. The weight had been lost. But I also lost a lot of strength. I knew that was part of the bargain… I just didn’t realize how much strength I would risk. In hindsight, I don’t think I played my cards right on this one. I got up at 3:45a.m. Hit snooze until 4:00a.m Got up. Got dressed. Packed. Prayed. Drank the last swing of what was left in the Pedialyte bottle from the night before and drove to transition and body marking. *Hindsight – invest in an RV so that you can just sleep in the parking lot at the event!!! That was a smart move I learned from the experienced triathletes there!!!

5:00a.m. body marked

5:15 a.m. set up transition area.

I met Cecelia Carroll. She complimented me on my bike and the matching orange arrangement of my entourage. I explained to her why I race with orange and she immediately teared up. “I lost my dad to cancer three years ago.” We hugged and cried. “Thank you for this moment. I needed this.” She told me. Cecelia would go on to rank #83 in our AG with a 7:20 time.

I exited transition to wait in the porta-potty line. Nerves had hit me and hit me hard. This may be TMI to you but it’s the truth. I am normally extremely constipated but when nerves hit me, I break out into hives and plant myself on the toilet until all’s well. And I did just that and boy did I let it all out. Uh oh. I kinda felt real sorry for the next person in line.

Now, let me tell you a little bit about my kit. See, I wear orange at all my races in honor of my Momma. It was her favorite color and she said it was the happiest color on Earth. So when Triflare created the “Sun Star” trikit, I knew this was as close to perfect for me and my vision of the promise I made. Triflare asked me to be an ambassador for them this year and I gladly accepted. Their designs, colors and fit are like no other triathlon kits I’ve worn and am honored to be a member of the triflare tribe. One other Triflare ambassador was there, too, although she is a professional triathlete and wears their kits not just for the pretty colors but for the performance standards. She is Sarah Haskins. Sarah ended up winning the whole shebang that day.

So imagine this… I’m exiting the porta-potty in my yellow and orange sun star Triflare trisuit looking quite smashing and I ask the woman propped up by the table near by to please zip me up. And she does… like a pro. No literally. Really. I turned around to thank her… It’s freaking Sarah Haskins!!! She’s beautiful!

6:30a.m. I meet up with Team Healey (they adopted me this season as a team member) under the transition entrance and walk in unison to the swim entry like superheros in their super hero suits except that we were a bunch of over grown adrenaline junkies in neoprene scared outta our wits but trying our best to hide it behind nervous giggles and wide eyes that never blinked.

6:45 a.m. waiting at the swim entry.

6:50 a.m. watching the pros warm up on their swim.

7:00 a.m. the pros start their swim

an hour goes by…

and fifteen more minutes

8:16 a.m. I ask if it’s ok that I have an orange swim cap instead of the yellow cap that the rest of my age group is wearing. IM volunteer responds with “If you’re ok with it, go ahead.” I give him a thumbs up. On the dock I see my first triathlon coach Sandy Overly and Maniac champion, Teresa Mancabelli. They look so comfortable! So pro! That’s because they really are! And then off in the distance I see a familiar face… one that I haven’t seen in years, like since high school graduation!!! Melissa Macheska!!! We zoom over to each other and have a total of 20 seconds to catch up, hug and wish each other well until…

OMG I’m so thirsty. OMG I have to pee. OMG I’m so hungry.

Why does this happen to me right before…

JUMP!

And I jumped into the water feet first with hands over my goggles.

Hey, this isn’t as cold as I thought it would be. It’s actually pretty nice. The water was a bit murky and from the bottom looking up, it kinda looked like weak dirty old coffee water. I slowly floated up and Whew! Thank goodness I used that anti fog liquid the day before and did it right! These goggles look great! No smears. No leaks. A bit snug though. I wonder if having them this tight will give me a headache. I hope not. Last thing I need is a head ache right now… does my head hurt? Is that a headache I’m feeling? Oh no. I better not be getting sick. Last thing I need is to be getting sick right now or a fever.. oh no… not a fever…or is this because I didn’t have coffee… oh no… I’ve got a caffeine headache and that won’t go away until I have coffee and these guys on kayaks don’t have coffee…It’s going to take me about 45 minutes to finish this swim and get to land so I can get coffee… and wait.. they won’t have coffee at transition… was there a starbucks on the bike course? I don’t remember seeing one.. no, every bike course has a coffee shop on it…

See folks… what we have here is Myssie’s head in full motion.

BANG! The gun goes off and age group 45-50 begin swimming.

That whole conversation in my head happened in 4.5 seconds flat. And… we’re off.

The water is like glass. It wasn’t choppy like how I had thought it would be. This is nice! Woah bucko!!! A swimmer goes over my right side. Blam! ugh! There’s kick #1 to my face. And… boom! Swimmer with crazy sharp toenails gets me to the left. Come on guys! Ease up on the rookie here!

Alright Myssie… keep your breath controlled and pace yourself. Easy. Easy. Nice. There you go! That’s how you do it! Boom! Boom! You got this baby!!! OMG! This is actually happening! This is really happening! And you’re doing it! You’re doing it! You’re going to finish this thing and you’re going to be awesome! Look at that! You’re spotting! You’re swimming pace is solid! And controlled! And you’re passing those buoys one by one!! Ha! And you thought this was going to be hard! Girl, you got this! If this is the hardest part, you’re going to go straight into the full like all papitas!!!

And just like that…it all came crashing down.

The swimmer behind me was having problems and he called out to a kayak for help. A jet ski zoomed over immediately and pulled him out. That jet ski clearly forgot the whole “no wake” rule and sprayed me with gasoline and slammed me with endless waves. By the time I got to buoy #5, I had to hold on to it, grab a hold of my temper and wonder if I had enough energy to punch the jet ski guy in the face for the last three times he zoomed by me and slammed me with waves. The kayaker nearby asked if I was ok. I joked back with him,”Ya, I’m ok. I’m just having a problem finding the lane lines in this water.” He laughed back at me and said “Oh yeah… they’re down there but it’s pretty deep. You’re going to have to look harder. Anything else I can help you with?” “Yeah,” I yelled back at him,”would you call in my stunt double now? I could use her help.” he laughed.

The notorious winds caught up by this time and the waves officially became choppy. Not only that, but the current got super strong! I was so impressed with my sighting, I knew I was going straight… but the current by that time had increased in strength and was able to move me like I was a plastic bag floating in the wind. I was like one of those cartoon characters where the arms and legs were spinning in Tasmanian Devil speed but going no where fast. By buoy #8, both calves in my legs had cramped up and my back cramped and I couldn’t see straight anymore. The whole world went blurry. My goggles were 20/20 clear but I couldn’t focus on anything. I’m not sure how to describe it other than I knew one thing was located in one place but I saw it in a completely different direction and fuzzy. I was hungry and thirsty and was clearly dehydrated. I was swallowing water, breathing in water and it wasn’t super salty like the bay at South Padre Island that I was used to. It tasted like what I imagined metal or gasoline would taste like. Not wanting to freak out… I allowed it to drip back behind my nostrils and down my throat. It felt slimy and nasty but I took it. I heard the crowd at the swim finish and knew I had already wasted too much time. I couldn’t kick because of the cramps and was relying only on my arms… my weakest part of my body. In cycling… we call this “bonking”. Obviously, I’m not a swimmer so I’m not sure if there is a term that matches the equivalent of bonking.  But that’s what happened.

“Bring it in orange cap! Come on! Bring it in!” the kayaker cheered me on.

I was on the last turn in and I could hear the roar of the cheers. Swim!!!! Swim Myssie! Give it all you have! 

Why is the Swim finish facing the other direction? Your eyes are playing tricks on you! Don’t believe what you see! But where am I? Where am I going? I’m lost!!!

Mistake #2: Hydrate and nourish your body correctly before and during your big event.

After the kayaker steered me to the direction I was supposed to be going, I made my way onto the swim exit ramp, took my first step and boy was it a doozie! I swear if the rail wasn’t made of sturdy wood and waist high, I would have fainted right smack back into the water. It held me up. I slowly took the next few steps and the girl under the arch said “Congratulations… you made it. They’ll take your wet suit off at the end” but no one was cheering… no one was there. Everyone was gone.

“I’m sorry. I have to take your time chip now.”

What? What do you mean you have to take the time chip? Aren’t you supposed to take my wet suit off of me?

Wait… oh… ohhhhhhh!!!! Oh noooooo

That’s when it hit me.

I looked down at my garmin… 1:14

SHIT

I went four minutes over. They DNF’ed me.

With my head hung low… I proceeded onto my walk of shame down the artificial green grass turf from Swim Exit to T1 where no one but four volunteers and six other DNFs congregated around like zombies in the Walking Dead. Exhausted, dizzy and pissed off I sat at the foot of my Mimi and began to cry.

I couldn’t ride her. That was it. A whole year of training. A whole year of sacrifice. All that expense. Everything… for this moment… and I blew it. My best wasn’t good enough.

I got my gear bag and searched for my phone. I wanted to call my mom. I wanted to hear her voice. I wanted her to tell me it was ok, that she knew I tried my best and I’ll get it next time. I wanted to feel her hug me. I wanted to get on my bike and go.

But I didn’t. I sucked it up and called my husband completely defeated, embarrassed and humiliated by my lack of … everything. The event volunteers were standing right behind me.

“DNF number Twenty six fifty one. Next.” – ugh! That hurt! Seriously? They had to do that right there like that?

I packed up my gear, took Mimi off the rack and rolled her out of transition.

An older gentleman walked along with me,”Was this your first time?”

“Yes sir. Does it show that much?” I responded.

“No. Not at all.” He was a bad liar.”I just hope this isn’t your last is all. I’m at these events a lot and I hope I get to see you here again.”

“You will. Just look for the orange.”

I had parked pretty close by the transition area so it was easy for me to quickly collect and pack all my gear up into my car. That’s when a woman approached me.

“Hi. I was pulling out and leaving when I saw you. I just wanted to tell you that I DNF’ed on the swim, too, and wanted to let you know that you weren’t alone. I’ve done this a lot.”

“Was this your 2nd, 3rd… 17th?” I asked.

“I lost count already.” she said smiling.”You did great and you look so beautiful in that orange.” and just ask quickly as she showed up… she disappeared.

So, here’s what I learned…. Ironman is tough serious business. I will never make it if I am around someone who tells me I’m not doing it right, good enough, hard enough, fast enough, long enough. I will make it if I believe I can. I know what to do. I know how to do it. But just like everyone else in this world.. I have doubts in my head that need to be mastered. I cannot do that if I am not focused and I don’t make nutrition and hydration a priority.

Mad props to all who finished IM Galveston. IM and HIM are events that should not be taken lightly. My respect to all who have been there and done that.  Respect to all who attempted as well and did not make it because they were hit by cars or had other obstacles that stopped them from their goals. I know I’ll see you out there again as we go for it again and earn the M dot.

Watch out Captextri. The fire has been lit.

I will finish Longhorn.

d7219b5274015337e5157b74eca4407b

 Lastly, (but surely not in the least) thank you to my friends, co-workers and family who encouraged and supported me. Your cheerleading skills exceed extraordinary levels!!!   

    
 

Why? Because…I won’t give up

Posted in half ironman, ironman, rgv, rio grande valley, Running, texas, training for my first half ironman, triathlon, triathlon training, triflare, Uncategorized with tags , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , on March 19, 2016 by runmyssierun

Confession: While in my late teens and early twenties, I stuffed my bras, wore push up bras and mastered the art of duct tape under a swim suit in order to win the swimsuit division in the pageants that I entered.

Now in present day, I struggle trying to keep the girls squished down enough so I can fit into my wet suit! Super duper powerful sports bras laugh in my face when shown the challenge I must endure. I have now accepted the doomed fate of side boobage for the time being. The Big Guy upstairs has a wicked sense of humor. I know… I know… that’s what I get.

We always want what we can’t have.

Exactly four weekends from this one, I will be at the Memorial Hermann Ironman 70.3 in Galveston, Texas. I am, once again, out of my league at this race. So why do it?

Because I said I would.

Because I know if I convince myself that if I wait until I get better, faster, leaner, etc… I can still continue to tell myself that I can get better, faster, leaner, etc… and I’ll be waiting forever. Honestly, that’s called procrastination.

Because I know that if I surround myself with people who do things better than I do, I’ll learn from them how to do things better and I’ll become a better person for it.

Because I no longer care what the nay-sayers say. This is MY goal. This is MY promise. Not theirs.

Because I don’t care how fast or slow I go or what I look like.

Because I know that if I go out there and do the best that I possibly can do, I will know I did my best regardless of whether or not I finished first or finished last or anywhere in between or DNF’d… I wasn’t that spectator wondering if I could do it, or do it better than that other person or do it better than the last time I did this… I would know because I went and did it. And if I end up DNFing, I’ll just get up and do it again until I get where I want to be.

Because I won’t give up that easily.

What I DO know is that IF I finish, I will do so with very little time to spare. One month away, I will admit that my endurance and my time is not near what I would like myself to be at. Work, family, stress and duties of life have all taken priority over my workouts. Life still hasn’t given me a break and I need to realize that it never will. My schedule is so erratic that 90% of my workouts are by myself and I’m not exactly my own best motivator. Because I’ve been trying to lose weight, I’ve found that my nutrition hasn’t been at it’s optimum and have found myself questioning whether my choice to be a natural, organic athlete is the best choice at this point. I can now see why so many top athletes eat nothing but powered, “all natural” chemicals for breakfast, lunch and supper.

I knew this would be difficult. I knew it. And I made the choice to do it anyway. I CANNOT GIVE UP.

12132470_10156642932605068_1907690315075000814_o.jpg

I’m down almost twenty pounds. I’m also down almost a full minute on my swim pace from this time last year. I received a new long sleeved Team in Training wet suit and tried it out for the first time last weekend with some very experienced Ironman finishers out in the waters of South Padre Island. I struggled even with the first 500 meters. I’m not very gifted with upper body strength so pulling through the choppy waves with long sleeves got to me quickly. Just to be safe and not have to worry about this additional pressure, I believe I’m going to revert back to my old wetsuit that is sleeveless… just in case.

1935824_10156672264065068_3903609848274156660_n.jpg

My long runs have been inconsistent with equal parts great runs and horrible attempts. My cycling is still a mystery. I had planned on joining Team McAllen’s “Stations of the Cross” ride today at the San Juan Basilica and take my long ride with them along Military Highway and then jump off to do another few loops but storms rolled in and I was reduced back to my trainer. Fortunately, a new, extremely challenging course was introduced on Zwift (my virtual cycling training program) and it kicked my patootie!!! I swear I was pushing 2 mph up the mountain for about 45 minutes!!! Longest miles ever!!! But cycling down the mountain at my top speed of 60 mph was electrifying!!

zwift mountain decent.jpg

I did notice on my ride today that I need to be refitted. I bought a replacement saddle a while back ago and tried to install it myself. I don’t think I did a good job. My knees are bent too much through the entire rotation and I can’t seem to feel balanced in any other position other than aero. And even in aero position, I feel like I’m too far away from my bars to be completely in proper aero position.

To prepare for my run, I went back to Valley Running Company to see if I could entertain going back to Saucony since they have this season’s kicks in orange! To no avail, my run stance still has not been corrected and I immediately felt my hip trigger just during the sampling of the shoes. The pains that I feel now during my run are scary and heartbreaking. I feel like a drug addict desperately trying to get the feeling back from that first awesome run a few years ago. I don’t mind the pain of exhaustion. But I am now quite frightful of the pain of permanent injury. I pray I never lose control of my pride and ego long enough to endanger the ability to be active for the rest of my life.

905301_10152735269165068_765550785_o.jpg

Tomorrow, I will not be participating in Stanley’s triathlon. This is the first sprint tri of the season here in South Texas. This is the event that started me off in the sport of triathlon. Stanley’s triathlon was created by my bike guru who also cherishes his mother and honors a charity near to both of their hearts, Guiding Eyes For The Blind. Part of what is raised at this event goes to fund seeing eye dogs for people who have lost their eyesight. I think this is something that isn’t talked about or recognized enough…the REASON why we TRI are many times for people other than ourselves. This is what makes triathletes so awesome. To have the dedication to endure so much pain during training and events must mean that the passion that fuels this is from the adoration of another.

My son taught me how to swim a mere 10 weeks before the event and Coach Sandy Overly continued to steer me in all the right directions for the entire year afterwards. I’ve competed in this annual event every year since 2012… except this one. I will be volunteering though. I will be at the finish line awarding the medals to all the phenomenal local triathletes, new and experienced.

And I can’t wait to see the smiles on their faces after their grand accomplishment!!

1265_10107344938042160_6839315944780467002_n.jpg

%d bloggers like this: